08 Dec 2021

The Lighter Side... Ads with an Extra Dimension

The Lighter Side... this week we take a look at wide format advertising with an added dimension. Billboards with added creativity to grab the attention and stand out from the crowd.

And standing out from the crowd is something we all need to be thinking more about. According to numbers published in the New York Times, we are all now subjected to an average of 3000 marketing messages daily.  Online, offline, everywhere you go and everywhere you turn, someone is trying to grab your attention and get their message noticed. Now our brains can’t truly process that many messages.  We can’t notice, absorb, or even judge the personal merit of 3000 visual attacks a day.  The only way to get your message past all that noise is to be creative - be quirky, and do something different.

I'd venture that the problem is worse here in good old Britain.  Let's face it, we're a bit dull, a bit conservative, we like the status quo, rocking the boat is bad, and we certainly can't even consider doing anything that might shock.  Yes, here in the UK, crying out for attention is frankly something to be frowned at. Well it's time to break that particular mould and get noticed, because here and now, unusual trumps normal.  Quirky wins.  In order for your clients' Ad campaign to get the attention it craves, or maybe even go viral, you might need some fresh thinking.


See if some of these classic campaigns from the past can spark your imagination...

Part of a series of 'Posters with Straws' billboards from Coca-Cola, it might not be the most visually striking, but you can guarantee if you spotted it, you'd be nudging the person next to you to have a look.



Nationwide insurance turned a fictional paint company’s billboard into a colourful, messy disaster in this unique ad, spilling a massive puddle of paint down the side of a building and into a parking lot, even covering several vehicles.



Disposable razor Ads, how tough a gig is that? I mean how many times can you create a billboard with a tanned hunky man (who doesn't actually appeal to most of the target audience anyway), and push the ever-increasing number of blades we supposedly now need to ensure an acceptable shave - what is there left to say? Bic said nothing, they just hired a billboard in a field and had their giant razor give the grass a nice close shave.



This startling advert, over the entrance to a tunnel, is trying to entice Austrian motorists to stop off at Oldtimer, a chain of motorway rest-stops.

Tunnel Mouth


Whilst visiting McDonalds six times in a day might not be high on my list of priorities, the simplicity of this Sundial billboard is brilliant. It's always McDonalds time - well right up until you get so fat that you can't fit through the door any more.



I mentioned the 3000 marketing messages you are subjected to daily... it seems there really is no escape, anywhere - as Nike has even taken to the sea with this particular campaign.

Nike Barge


Clothing was placed at bus shelters in conjunction with posters to promote the TV series 'The Power Of One', in which renowned hypnotist Peter Powers got people to carry out outrageous tasks under hypnosis. An innovative form of typography was also used in the poster to create an optical illusion that makes the type appear to move. To my mind this is just starting to get a little bit too clever for it's own good, but if the agenda was to get coverage, and create a talking point, well it worked perfectly on that score.



So there you have it. Some clever concepts that will have created a stir and captured the imagination - and it's worth remembering that some of the billboards above were first created over 5 years ago, yet they've been getting shared and repeated on the Internet ever since, and have thus gained from thousands upon thousands of additional pages of coverage for the brand. In a world of same old same old, different gets talked about, and shared.